Man Utd v Man City preview and prediction: Solskjaer’s biggest test so far

Manchester United’s victory at the Etihad Stadium last month was the perfect counter-attacking performance.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side soaked up waves of City pressure, before rampantly bombing forward with the rapid front three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James.

The Reds could have been out of sight at half-time, taking a two goal lead through Martial and Rashford. While they were made to work more in the second-half and the threat on the break was less profound, it remains one of Solskjaer greatest results so far.

Turning over Pep Guardiola’s champions in their backyard was fantastic, but this Carabao Cup tie over two legs promises to be a much more challenging test.

READ MORE: Opposition Preview: Athletic writer on an improved Man City and an uphill battle for United

United’s squad is depleted; Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba out while Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are doubts through illness.

Meanwhile, it appears City have fixed their vulnerability to the counter-attack and are now shipping fewer goals on the break.

Form would suggest Guardiola’s side are huge favourites, after winning their last three games and scoring eight goals in the process.

United, meanwhile, have not scored in either of their previous games against Arsenal and Wolves, failing to register a shot on target at Molineux on Saturday.

We expect both managers to select their strongest possible starting XI’s, with the squad rotations in the FA Cup this weekend and indication that this competition is a priority for both sides.

Predicted Man Utd XI: Sergio Romero, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams, Matic, Pereira, Fred, James, Martial, Rashford.

Predicted Man City XI: Bravo; Walker, Fernandinho, Stones, Mendy, Rodrigo, De Bruyne,  D. Silva, Mahrez, Sterling, Aguero 

United face an uphill battle at Old Trafford tonight, but must go to the Etihad in three weeks time with a fighting chance of reaching the Wembley final.

This may mean the Reds are cautious in the first-leg, but there is a feeling that Solskjaer’s men have to score this evening as City’s attack will create enough chances to break the Reds down.

Prediction: United 1-1 City

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